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Delph Property Group plans £500m PRS stock expansion

Exclusive: Private rented sector investor Delph Property Group has embarked on a major five-year investment drive to pile £500m into its PRS stock.

The investment programme of £100m a year up until 2020 could triple Delph’s current portfolio size, which stands at around 1,300 units.

Managing director Howard Crocker said he could not put a figure on the number of homes the group might own as a result, given the variation in prices, but that it would “be in the thousands”.

The group has also signed its first deal with a major contractor through its off-plan purchase of a block of 46 flats in Bedford from a Bouygues Development-led joint venture for £9m.

Delph will make a large proportion of its purchases off plan, offering to either forward fund entire scheme or to put down higher than usual deposits to help SMEs finance development.

Mr Crocker told Construction News: “Some guys still can’t get finance; outside of London in particular it’s still very hard.

“We’re releasing up to 40 per cent deposits to help them to build it.”

Mr Crocker said that the Bedford development with Bouygues marked “the first time we’ve worked with a big-scale contractor”, adding that he wanted to work with a range of firms over the course of the five-year investment push.

“I want to work with builders to develop long-term relationships,” he continued. “I don’t want adversarial relationships or zero-sum games where there’s a winner or loser.

“I want to work with these guys over a few years.”

With larger contractors, Delph will offer forward funding for schemes, purchasing 100 per cent of the development before construction starts and then making staged payments to fund building costs.

Delph will purchase freehold blocks featuring between 50 and 200 homes. The investments will be split between London, where Delph wants to buy units to consolidate its existing portfolio, and other major cities in England.

Its current portfolio includes properties in more than 16 English cities and 18 different areas in the capital.

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